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See the enormous scale of black holes in this jaw-dropping NASA animation

Published May 3rd, 2023 5:00PM EDT
ultramassive black hole in space
Image: Vadimsadovski/Adobe

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Black holes are big. But just how big are they compared to something like our Sun? That’s what NASA’s latest animation aims to answer. The new black hole animation showcases some of the universe’s largest black holes compared to our Sun.

It’s a shocking animation that really helps paint a proper look at the scale of these cosmic entities that have baffled and intrigued astronomers for decades. What’s even more intriguing is that these supermassive black holes can get even bigger. That’s because whenever galaxies with supermassive black holes collide, the black holes themselves merge, too.

This allows the black holes to grow more and more as they suck up more of the matter, mass, and gasses surrounding them. It’s honestly hard not to look at this black hole animation from NASA and not feel like humanity is just a small part of the universe — a truth that may be hard to swallow for many.

Still, it’s a good reminder that the universe is constantly expanding, and it’s a great way of showcasing some of the most intriguing and interesting black holes that humanity has discovered. Understanding how big black holes can get will also help us understand how they evolve and grow, too.

In the animation, NASA breaks down how big black holes like those found at the center of the Milky Way and Messier 87. Astronomers have captured direct images of both these black holes using modern telescopes. All the black holes featured in the animation have been directly measured using similar methods.

Some of the black holes found in the video are so big that a beam of light would take weeks to travel across it, and even then, the black hole itself contains the mass of billions of solar masses — which is an insane measurement. And we’re still discovering new black holes, including some rogue black holes that don’t have a home galaxy.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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